Where The Peruvian Things Are


Peruvian Ceviche

The first flavors are the most important ones in life.  As a kid,  I can affectionately recall, with almost palpable memories, the pain in my tongue from the spiciness of the dish that completely changed my perspective about food and life…

The Peruvian ceviche is unique not only because of the simplicity, but also because of the history behind it.  Born in Peru,  ceviche these days enjoys popularity all over the world.  Until recently I had never made myself what has now become one of the most recognizable symbols of Peru.  But now I can finally say that I have been able to successfully make  the only thing I truly consider my favorite dish on the planet.

Peruvian Ceviche (Gaston Acurio’s version)

  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro plus some extra leaves for garnish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of aji amarillo paste divided into 1 and 1/2
  • 1 1/2 small red onion (1 quartered and thin sliced and 1/2 chopped)
  • 1 small sweet potato (boiled)
  • 1 ear of corn(boiled)
  • 1 pound  grouper (if you can find sole even better), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced, divided
  • Kosher salt

Peruvian Ceviche Overview

For the Leche de Tigre:

In a blender mix the lime juice, garlic, 1 tablespoon of cilantro, 1/2 onion chopped, 1 tablespoon of aji amarillo and a couple of ice cubes to make a smooth like texture.  After it is blended, pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a small bowl.  Add salt to taste and set aside, covered in the refrigerator.

For the Ceviche:

Rub a large bowl with the half of aji amarillo. Place grouper, 2/3 of onion sliced, leche de tigre, and a couple of ice cubes in a bowl.  Stir well and let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove any ice crystals and salt to taste.

For plating, serve the ceviche and on the side place the sweet potato and corn, drizzle the fish with leche de tigre and garnish with remaining onion and cilantro. Buen Provecho!

The Promised Lamb

Lamb Braised with Peruvian Tamale

Lamb Braised with Peruvian Tamale

I haven’t had this delicious type of meat in many years, so I had forgotten how good it could be if prepared the way you like it (in this case I used a Peruvian recipe) The occasion was Katie’s birthday,  so I wanted to make something I don’t normally make everyday. This recipe was taken from Gaston Acurio’s book  “La Cocina Novoandina” (The Novo-Andean Cuisine) And the result, after 9 hours of cooking, was well worth the wait…

Slow Braised Lamb with  Peruvian Tamale


4 lamb loin chop (if you can get lamb shank  even better)

1 cup of ground corn (such as Maseca or Purple Corn Flour)

1/2 cup of  lard

4 Tbsp canola oil

2 Tbsp chopped onion (divided on 1 Tbsp each)

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1 hard boiled egg (cut in 4)

¼ cup olives (botija or kalamata)

3 cups beef broth

1 1/2 chicken broth

4 corn husk

cooking twine

2 Tbsp aji panca paste*

1 Tbsp aji amarillo paste*

1 Tbsp  huacatay paste*

1 1/2 cup chicha de jora*

cilantro for garnish

salt and pepper

* The first two ingredients are Peruvian chili peppers, which can be found in Latin American supermarkets (or “bodegas” as some are called) or by purchasing online.  The chicha de jora is a fermented corn beverage originally created by the Inca in Peru and used for traditional ceremonies and celebrations.  This distinctly flavored drink can also be purchased in Latin markets or online. The hucatay is also a Peruvian herb.  Some also call it “black mint” and again, it can be found in Latin markets or online.

For the Lamb:

Season the chops with salt and pepper and set aside.  In a large  pan on medium high heat, add the oil and then the chops.  Cook until golden on each side, then take the lamb out and turn the heat to medium.  In the same pan, cook the 1 Tbsp of onion, aji panca, aji amarillo,  and huacatay.  Cook for a minute or two, then turn the heat to low and return the lamb to the pan.  Add the beef broth, the chicha de jora, salt and pepper,  then cover and cook for 7 hours or until the meat falls off the bone.

* If you like the sauce of the lamb to be thicker, after the meat is done take it out and cook on high heat until the liquid  reduces.

For the Tamale:

Using a medium sized pot, melt the lard on medium heat, then add one Tbsp of the onion and the garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes until soft,  then add the corn flour slowly and stir using a wooden spoon.  Add the chicken broth and keep stirring.  Season with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low, cooking for 4 minutes or until the dough is soft then set aside (one way to test whether or not the dough has enough liquid is to make a pea size ball and drop into a glass with cold water.  If the ball floats then is ready;  if it sinks you need to add more liquid)

To assemble the tamales you need to make sure the corn husks are somewhat soft (you can do this by quickly submerging them in warm water)  Put the dough evenly on each husk and put one Tbsp of olives and a 1/4 of the egg in each tamale.  Fold over and secure  it using twine.  Meanwhile bring to boil water in the steamer pot then turn on low heat, making sure the water is not touching the surface of the upper part of the steamer. Put the tamales in and cover with the lid, cooking for about an hour (make sure to check the level of the water every 15 minutes)

To serve, garnish the lamb with cilantro. Buen provecho!

Lamb Braised with Peruvian Tamale too

Lamb Braised with Peruvian Tamale